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Blinded by tears, Hermione rushed to the Travel Room, desperate to get away and in the safety of her flat before she completely broke down.
It'd taken everything she had not to burst into tears in front of Draco – she'd been humiliated enough for one evening, – but she feared her control was about to snap. It wouldn't do for anyone to catch her with tears running down her cheeks; Draco didn't deserve to feel guilty for moving on.
Her hand half way to the crystal bowl with the floo powder, she started when a big, pale hand wrapped around her delicate wrist, and roughly span her around; her stomach rolled at the sudden move, and she stumbled, right onto a muscular chest.
His familiar scent infiltrated her nostrils, and she gasped, her eyes flying up to connect with the silver, furious eyes of one Draco Malfoy.
"Draco, what – "
"How dare you," he whispered, looking murderous. Hermione felt a shiver of awareness rushing down her spine, but she ignored it. "How dare you come in my house, after everything, and say what you said in my office?"
"W- what do you mean?" she asked tremulously.
"What did you come here to tell me, Granger?" He demanded, letting her wrist go only to grasp her upper arms and give her a gentle shake. "Tell me, damn you!"
"I love you!" she shouted, furious with him for not letting her go in peace, and with herself for giving in, for letting him how hurt she was. "I came here to tell you I love you, and I'm sorry. I'm sorry for being scared, I'm sorry for pushing you away when all I wanted was to keep you close to me forever. I'm sorry I made you think you were unworthy and that I didn't reciprocate your feelings! I'm sorry it took me so long to come to you! I'm fucking sorry for everything I did wrong! But I'm not sorry for loving you, I'm not. Even though you have a date with a doubtlessly gorgeous woman like Greengrass, and you don't want me any more, I still love you, and I don't regret it. I don't."
She was crying freely now, but she didn't try to wipe her tears away or try to hide them; she was too damn tired to pretend this, he, wasn't affecting her, and she had tried, dammit, she had tried not to burden him with her feelings, but he had to come after her, didn't he, the right bastard, he had to come torment her some more, and now here they were, and she was shaking, crying, and making a fool out of herself, all because Draco couldn't leave her cry in peace!
"I'm sorry," she repeated, collapsing against him, all fight leaving her. His strong arms wrapped around her, supporting her.
The last few weeks had taken their emotional toll on her, and she found herself unable to stop crying; his hands rubbed her back as he whispered soothing words in her ears, but she didn't hear them.
Draco's familiar scent was causing her to feel nauseated, her ears were ringing, and dark spots were dancing in he periphery; recognising the signs, she tried to warn him, but she only managed a small whine before her world faded to black, and she slipped into unconsciousness.
Hermione woke up on a familiar bed, Draco's scent surrounding her.
"Thank Merlin, you're awake!" A woman cried, and Hermione started, shooting up in bed so fast, her vision swam. She raised a hand to her forehead, closing her eyes against the sudden light.
"Goodness gracious, take it easy, child!" The woman softly chided, reaching out to steady her with one hand on her shoulder. "You are still unwell!"
Taking heed of the woman's warnings, Hermione kept her eyes shut, and took deep breaths, trying to regain her equilibrium; the hand on her shoulder had moved to her hair, running through her wild locks gently, and she relaxed farther into the mountain of pillows on her back.
Wiggling her toes under the sheets, she affirmed someone – probably Draco – had relieved her off her shoes along with her leather jacket.
"Much, thank you," she murmured, blinking her eyes open; she almost squeaked when she saw that it was Narcissa Malfoy sitting beside her on the bed, her blue eyes filled with affection as she stared down at her. "Mrs Malfoy? Wha– What happened?"
Narcissa frowned delicately at her formal address, but refrained from chiding her, much to Hermione's relief.
"You don't remember?" The regal blonde asked with an arced brow. Seeing her bemusement, she sighed. "You fainted, child. My Lord, Draco was beside himself with worry. I thought something truly horrendous had happened when I heard his shouts."
That sounded exactly like something Draco would do, but... Wasn't he supposed to be getting ready for his date? Why was he playing nurse to her, when his date was waiting for him?
Looking around, she confirmed she was in his bedroom; memories of their passionate night here still kept her up at nights with unfulfilled desire, so she had no trouble recognising the opulent room.
It didn't escape her notice that the owner of the room wasn't there with his mother.
Don't be silly, he's obviously on his date. Did you honestly expect him to stay with you?
Yes, she had. And yes, she knew it was foolish of her, but she couldn't help it.
"Hermione, darling, are you sure you're feeling better?" Narcissa's soft voice interrupted her thoughts. "You paled all of a sudden."
"No, no, I'm fine," she assured her hostess. "Just a little dizzy but that's to be expected."
"Indeed." Narcissa didn't look convinced. "Perhaps you should lie down for a little longer? You look like you need it."
"No," she denied, turning on the bed to put her feet on the floor. Narcissa stood up as well, looking concerned as Hermione pushed away from the bed, standing on her own two feet. "See, I'm fine–"
A sudden bout of dizziness assaulted her, and her knees gave out from under her, spilling her forward.
Narcissa was there, kneeling beside her, her pale hands keeping her voluminous hair away from her face as she dry heaved. Something is wrong, she thought, fighting down nausea.
Due to the ringing in her ears, she missed the sound of the door opening.
"What the – mother! I thought you said you'd take care of her!"
"Shush, Draco. Can't you see she's unwell?"
What is he doing here!? He's supposed to be at his date, not here, watching me get sick all over his carpet!
"I'm fine," she wheezed, trying to stand.
"I'd believe you if you didn't look like death," Draco curtly said, and Hermione was too weak to protest when he lifted her up in his arms and gently deposit her on his enormous bed, smoothing her hair away from her pale, sticky face. Concerned grey eyes peered at her through his fringe, and her broken heart rejoiced at the tenderness lurking in his stare.
Stop it! He's seeing someone else! He just feels sorry for you.
"You don't look very well," he said matter of factly, and turned to his hovering mother. "Send for a healer."
"Now, mother." He growled, and Narcissa huffed before leaving the room.
"Shut up, Granger." He cut her off with a glare. "You are in no condition to be making demands."
For the first time since he arrived, Hermione really looked at him.
He was still in the black trousers and white button down she saw him in earlier, but he looked even more dishevelled now, his hair sticking in all directions, and his shirt untuck.
Unable to stop herself, she reached out and brushed a lock of hair that had fallen on his forehead; it was as soft as she remembered, and she couldn't help but run her hand through the silky locks. Draco stood frozen, his eyes locked on her face.
When she thoughtlessly scrapped her nails on a spot behind his ear that she knew drove him mad, he groaned low in this throat.
"Hermione." He breathed, and she retracted her hand, horrified at what she'd done.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, eyes wide. "I didn't mean to–"
"Stop," he ordered sternly, his expression serious.
Hermione clamped her mouth shut, averting her eyes.
Here it was.
His final rejection.
Goodness, couldn't he wait to do this when she wasn't lying on his bed? The same bed they had made love on not a month ago?
"Look at me, lioness." he demanded quietly. Her eyes flew to his, cautious hope flaring in her chest at the endearment. His intensity made her breath catch, and the small sound made him break eye contact; his eyes fell on her parted lips, and his breath hitched. "Merlin, lovely, you drive me crazy."
"W-what?" She choked out, misinterpreting his words. "I– I didn't do anything!"
"Yeah?" He arched an eyebrow. "You practically told me to get bend, several times mind you, and then you show up in my house – dressed liked this – all apologetic, and looking at me like you want nothing more than to jump me, and then you go and confess your love to me, and fucking faint, scaring the bejeesus out of me by the way, and you claim you didn't do anything?"
"It doesn't matter," she said hurriedly, needing to reassure him he need not worry about her. "I... I'll get over you... Eventually. I mean, we weren't actually dating, or anything, so..."
Draco watched her silently.
"Do you really think so?" he finally asked.
"Yes!" Hermione insisted fiercely. "I understand you don't want me any more, how could I not? I messed up, so I have no right to screw this up for you. You don't need to worry about me. I'm a big girl, I can take care of myself. I... I don't need you." She whispered, praying he'll believe her lie.
"Don't want you any more." Draco murmured, eyes dark. "You think I don't want you any more."
"You said so!" she cried, trying to rise from her lying position. Draco's hand gently, but firmly, push her back down. "You said you have a date, and– oh! Oh my God, you stood her up! Because of me! Merlin, this is all my fault! I'm sorry, I'll explain everything to her if you just give me her name–"
"Shut up! For the love of all that is holy, shut the fuck up!" Draco shouted, jumping to his feet and glaring down at her.
"No, do not speak." He growled, agitatedly running his hands threw his hair. Suddenly, he froze, only his eyes moving to roam over her figure. With a low growl, he jumped on the bed, and crawled over her, coming to straddle her thighs. Leaning over her, he rested his weight on his palms, situated on either side of her head, and he brought his face close to hers. His warm breath washed over her face; Merlin, she could practically taste him!
Her dizziness returning, she had to close her eyes if she didn't wish to swoon.
"Look at me," he demanded in a whisper.
"I can't," she said breathlessly. "I can't think clearly when you are so close to me."
"Mm, I like that." He chuckled, and Hermione gasped when she felt him nuzzling her throat.
"W–what are you doing?" she stuttered, unconsciously arching her head to give him more flesh to nibble on.
"What I wanted to do since I saw you standing outside my study in this sexy outfit."
"B-bu-but your date–"
"Theo will understand, I'm sure." She felt him smirk against her neck.
"You said it was a woman!" She cried, indignant.
Draco laughed at her face.
"You infuriated me, love," he admitted, returning to suckling on her lobe. "After our last fight, I was... Angry might be an understatement. After Theo called on me yesterday and told me of your talk, I was even more furious; you chose to go to him, instead of me. And today you showed up, and I had to drag the apology out of you. And even then, you refused to admit you love me. Forgive me, lovely, but I thought you'd never admit your feelings, and I told you the other night, it's all or –"
"–nothing," she finished his sentence, finally opening her eyes to stare at his luminous silver ones. "All or nothing, right?"
"Yeah," he whispered, and much to her bemusement he rose; he helped her sit up, and after situating her comfortably on his pillows, he crawled away from her.
"What are you doing?" she asked, clenching the sheets beneath her to stop her hands from reaching out to him.
Settling a good distance from her, he returned his attention on her.
"Everything–"he stopped, a frown marrying his features as he tried to compose his thoughts. When he was ready, he took a deep breath, and continued. "Everything that has gone wrong with us, with our relationship, stems from misconceptions and miscommunication. Even when we're being completely honest with each other, we manage to screw up any progress we've made by not having trust in each other. The best way to move forward, is to clear the air between us."
Hermione nodded in agreement.
"Since you apologised, I believe I owe you an apology as well; the morning after our night together, I shouldn't have left you. I know Theo told you why I had to, but the least I could do when it became obvious I would be late, was send you a note explaining something had come up, and request you wait for me, so we could talk. I knew how you are, and my reputation, so I should have predicted how you'd interpret my actions. But you were at wrong as well, lovely," he murmured, watching her through half lidded eyes. "That night... I made my intentions clear. I told you I wanted to pursue what we had. I haven't been exactly subtle in my pursuit of you; Merlin, woman, I practically dry humped you against Abbott's counter in the Leaky! I know you are insecure, but it's getting ridiculous!"
Hermione looked down, fiddling with her skirt's hemline.
"I know..." she murmured, peeking at him through her lashes. "But you have to understand, Draco, this," she motioned between them, "is not exactly the kind of relationship I'm used to. I was conditioned to believe that my sexual preferences are deviant and wrong. What you offered me... Merlin, it was everything I wanted and more. But I was afraid. Afraid to accept it; because the moment I did, there'd be no return. So I took any excuse I could get to push you away. But I know now that doing so is impossible. This is me. This is what I want, and I... I want it with you.
"After my conversation with Theo, I needed some time to clear my head; I knew I had made a grave error in pushing you away, but I had to sort out myself before coming here. It took me the whole night to figure out what I wanted to say to you, and when I came here... Well, you know what happened."
Draco flinched at the reminder.
"I think I owe you an apology for that as well," he said after a minute of silence. "I was angry, and hurt, and I wasn't thinking clearly. I wanted to hurt you as you'd hurt me, and that was wrong of me. I'm sorry."
"Don't be." She sighed, rolling her eyes. "I deserved that after everything."
"No, you didn't," he said harshly. "It was cruel of me, especially when I knew how hard it was for you to come here in the first place."
Shrugging, she chose not to reply. The silence stretched, bordering on awkward, when Draco leaned over suddenly, and cupped her cheek in his hand. Staring into her eyes, he smiled a genuine smile. He breath caught.
"I love you," they whispered at the same time, and chuckled.
Hermione tilted her head in his palm, closing her eyes and enjoying the feel of his skin on hers. Feeling his stare on her face, she slowly opened her eyes, and had to bite her lip to stop a whimper from escaping when she caught sight of Draco's half lidded eyes.
His hand tightening on her face, he pulled her to him as he rose on his knees and leaned closer to her. They met half way, one of her hands coming to rest on his chest, and the other grasping his shoulder. Draco's free hand went to her waist, his fingers flexing on the bare skin there – her shirt had ridden up at some point, and frissons of desire shot straight to her core.
His dark eyes were on her lips, and when his thumb traced her bottom lip, her tongue darted out and licked the tip. With a strangled moan, he pulled her to his arms, and slanted his mouth on hers, swallowing her whimper.
In a flash, he had her lying under him, inarticulate noises escaping her lips as he covered her body with his own; her legs parted immediately to accommodate him, and he took the invitation with an appreciative moan, nestling between her thighs, and shallowly thrusting against her in a familiar rhythm. She was wet and ready for him faster than ever before, her hands clumsily working on his shirt's buttons. With a growl of impatience, Draco rose on his knees and ripped his shirt open, shrugging it off and throwing it away hastily, before returning to her, his hands tugging at her shirt.
He groaned loudly when he finally divested her of her clothes and saw the lingerie she had chosen to wear; he didn't need to guess to know she had picked them with him in mind – after all, she knew green was his favourite colour.
Hastily removing his trousers, he returned to her, and wasted no time in reacquainting himself with her body; he had only wrapped his lips around her nipple through the satin of her bra, her back arching as pleasure rocked through her, and a loud whimper catching in her throat, when the door to his room was thrown open.
With a shriek, Hermione pushed him off of her, violently tagging the sheet to cover her half naked body; Draco let loose a litany of curses as he fell off of the bed and landed on his arse on the floor. Pushing his hair out of his eyes, he viciously glared at the intruders.
He glared harder when he saw his mother – glowering disapprovingly at him, – standing beside an elderly wizard dressed in the lime green robes that marked St Mungo's Healers; bringing up the rear was his father, his trademark platinum blond hair dyed a dull brown to hide his identity. Not that it'd fool anyone who knew Lucius, but it was better than running around undisguised when he was supposedly exiled.
"Draco! Hermione is ill! You shouldn't take liberties with her when she's of delicate health!" Narcissa hissed in admonishment, her hands on her hips.
Hermione groaned and tried to hid under the pillows; pissed, Draco stood up uncaring of his state of undress.
"Haven't you learn how to knock?" He sneered, crossing his arms and returning his mother's glare.
"You told me, demanded it really, to fetch a Healer," his mother reminded him, her nose in the air. "And I did."
"Oh, you shouldn't have!" Hermione cried, peeking at the elderly man through the tendrils of hair that had fallen over her face. "I'm feeling great now."
"I bet you do," Lucius agreed with a lascivious grin, and he chuckled when both she and his son flushed at his innuendo.
"That's enough." Narcissa hissed, but a smile was tugging at her lips.
"If I may," the Healer addressed Hermione, smiling kindly. "Lady Malfoy told me you fainted, and when you woke up you were weak, and felt nauseated; is that correct?"
Hermione nodded in the affirmative. Draco sat beside her on the bed, and took her hand in his.
The Healer approached the bed, and waved his wand over her head in a complicated pattern.
"Has this happen before?" he asked, his tone mild.
Hermione felt nervous all of a sudden.
"I– two days ago I heard some distressing news, and collapsed. Twice. I felt nauseated when I woke up the first time."
The Healer nodded as if she had confirmed a suspicion.
"Could you please lie down and lower the sheet? I'd like to examine your stomach."
Hermione exchanged a bewildered look with Draco, glancing nervously at his parents.
But they didn't look scandalised as she had expected. No; both elder Malfoys wore an identical shocked expression, their eyes moving from her to Draco, who looked paler than normal.
"Is something wrong with her?" he demanded, his grip tightening on her hand.
"No, no, young man," the Healer reassured them. "On the contrary, your Miss Granger appears healthy as a horse."
"I have a suspicion, but I need to examine Miss Granger's stomach to be sure."
Draco exhaled noisily. Ignoring his parents, he leaned close to her, his lips pressing on her temple. "You heard the Healer, lioness," he whispered for her ears only. "Let's get you ready."
He gathered his shirt from the floor, and – after making sure both his father and the Healer had averted their eyes, – he helped her wear it. After lying down, she lowered the sheets to her hips, and lifted the shirt over her stomach.
The Healer smiled at the young couple, his eyes knowing.
"Now, Miss Granger, you might feel a little cold, but that's normal, all right?"
"Yes, okay." She breathed, looking up in Draco's eyes. The Healer had assured them she was fine, so there was no need to worry, right?
Trying to calm the erratic beating of her heart, she watched as the Healer pointed his wand to her belly; he swiped it in a great arc, and a golden mist erupted from the wand's tip, settling on her abdomen. Hermione winced at the icy feeling, and Draco pressed a reassuring kiss to her temple, wordlessly letting her know he was there for her.
The mist was absorbed in her skin, and Hermione held her breath, feeling her skin tickle there.
Exactly twenty seconds later, a soft blue glow emanated from her belly, and Narcissa gave a joyous shout. Lucius looked ready to pass out, and the Healer smiled in delight.
"Just as I suspected!" he announced happily. "Miss Granger, let me the first one to congratulate you on this happy occasion!"
"C-congratulate me? What for?" she asked, stuttering.
The Healer clapped his hands. "You, my dear girl, are pregnant! With a baby boy!"
Hermione's eyes widened, and her head snapped to the side, eyes colliding with Draco's.
"Merlin," she whispered.
"A baby," he said, dazed. "We are having a baby. A boy."
"WE ARE HAVING A GRANDCHILD, LUCIUS!" Narcissa screeched, ecstatic. "A GRANDSON! WE ARE GOING TO BE GRANPARENTS!"
Hermione was overwhelmed; yesterday, she wasn't even sure if Draco would forgive her and agree to give their relationship a second chance. And not half an hour after getting back together, they find out she's pregnant.
Her emotions a mess, she decided the best course of action was to faint; there were simply too many things she needed to work out, and she couldn't do that when she was about to have a panic attack.
The last thing she saw before passing out was Draco; his eyes shone down at her with pure adoration simmering in their grey depths, and a feeling of pure happiness washed over her, and followed her into unconsciousness.
If there was one thing she was certain about, it was that Draco would be there for her when she woke up. And she couldn't be happier.
Ignoring their parents protests – Narcissa had wasted no time in penning a letter to Hermione's parents to convey the happy news, and ask Tutu to escort the Muggle couple to the Manor to see their daughter, – Draco had whisked her away to Paris the minute she woke up.
They had a lot to discuss, he'd told their parents with his nose in the air, and they needed privacy to do that.
Their month long vacation was a blur of amazing sex, fabulous dates, and endless conversations about their plans and wishes for the future; Hermione made it clear she would never be satisfied with assuming the role of a dutiful, stay at home wife. Her life goals included a successful career, and she stressed the point that if he really wanted to do this, then they'd not only support each other's familial aspirations, but their career aspirations as well.
She had also brought up the subject of their sexual life, mainly how having a child would affect them; Draco had arrogantly smirked, and pointed out that being insanely rich had its perks. Like having a faithful elf who had been begging him to procreate for the past five years so she could have a babe to look after.
There were more matters that needed discussing, but they had agreed that there was no hurry; they loved each other, and they loved their baby, so they'd deal with whatever life threw at them when the time came.
And the first thing they'd to deal with was Narcissa and Helen Granger's anger when they'd announce that they didn't wish to get married simply because they were having a baby. It had taken Hermione two months to convince them that it was the right move for them.
Their relationship was just too new to add marriage to the mix.
Six months later, Scorpius Hugo Malfoy was borne; he had his father's eyes, and his mother's hair, along with a set of lungs that would have made Madame Hooch proud, and a curiosity for everything new which made his mum so happy, she'd acquiesced easily to Draco naming him.
Theo and Ginny had been named Godparents, and after two months of constant fighting over who was Scorpius' favourite, Theo had had enough and pushed the feisty red head against a wall, and thoroughly snogged her.
Noting Harry's displeasure at the news, Draco had closeted him away with him one afternoon in his office with a bottle of expensive Firewhisky. When they were done with their talk more several hours later, Harry seemed a bit less depressed, much to Hermione's relief. In fact, there was a resolve to his features she hadn't seen since their days on the run chasing down Horcruxes and the Hallows.
It was a month later that he'd reveal to her that he'd advised Harry to visit S much like her, Harry had been in denial with what he really wanted out of a sexual relationship. He wasn't a true submissive or dominant, but he did enjoy spicing up his sexual life once in a while.
It had taken the raven haired Auror a few months, and a lot of experimentation, but he'd eventually found what he was looking for in the arms of Gabrielle Delacour, Fleur's younger sister, and a Junior Curse Breaker in Gringotts.
On their one year anniversary, he'd commandeered their parents to babysit for them for a week, and he'd swept her off to Paris, where he'd proposed to her on top of Eiffel Tower, before proceeding to shagging her senseless right up there after she'd said yes.
They wedded two months later, in a ceremony that was featured on the front page of every paper and magazine in wizarding society for a month.
As a wedding present, Draco had given her a priceless diamond and emerald necklace, whispering in her ear that he wanted to see her wearing that and only that in their wedding night. Hermione's present had been to whisper in his ear that she was pregnant again.
Lyra Helen and Cassiopeia Narcissa Malfoy had their father wrapped around their little fingers, with their identical amber coloured eyes, and platinum blonde hair; Draco dreaded the day his twins would go to Hogwarts, and he'd be too far away to protect them from the attention of boys.
Scorpius had assured his father that he'd keep an eye on his baby sisters for him... for the appropriate compensation of his time, of course.
Draco had almost cried at his son's cunning, and Hermione had been forced to accept the fact her first born was going to be a Slytherin when he went to Hogwarts.
Caelum Severus Malfoy was a surprise and a blessing; Hermione had a very difficult pregnancy, and she'd almost lost the baby when she went into labour two months early. Her Healer warned her against having more children, and since then she made sure to keep her contraceptive potion up to date.
Neither she, nor Draco were disappointed there'd be no more children in their future; they had four beautiful children they loved to death, and a myriad of godchildren to look after during sleep over weekends, so they were content with their life.
They'd settled into married life much the same as they'd settled into dating: amazing sex, followed by misunderstandings and bouts of fighting, but also resolved with apologies, kisses, and hot, kinky make-up sex.
Under Draco's tutelage, Hermione grew confident in her submissive role in the bedroom. She trusted her Dom inexplicably, and never hesitated to try something new with him.
In the end, all that mattered was that they loved each other. And really, what more could a woman ask?
"For the love of God, Draco! So what if she likes James? He's a lovely boy!"
"My daughter will never date a Potter!"
"Lyra will be lucky to land a lad like my boy, Ferret-Face!"
"Ha! You wish, Scarhead!"
"Bite me, you four eyes bastard!"
"Screw you, you inbred arse!"
"Aw, isn't that nice! Cassie just kissed Albus!" Luna cooed from her spot under the cherry tree, Lysander snoring in her arms, as Lorcan was busy following Teddy around.
Hermione sighed, exchanging a look with Ginny over Elieanora's – Ginny and Theo's daughter – head.
Some things never changed.
A/N: Oh my God... This is it. The end. After almost a year, I cannot believe The Serpent in complete. Feels kind of surreal, don't you think?
I hope I answered all remaining questions, but if I missed anything, please feel free to ask me. Also, I want to apologise to those of you who were hoping for a more, uh, kinky ending. Although I don't have plans to add any more chapters to this story, I might, some time in the future, write a smutty one shot set in this universe.
Thank you so much for all the reviews, alerts, and favourites! You made me smile, and laugh countless times with your thoughtful reviews, and I appreciate every single one of you.
There's really nothing more to say, except, goodbye.